Mets Game 25: Win Over Braves
Mets 4 Braves 3
This game was a lot closer than it should’ve been.
The truth is, the Mets should have won this game by at least six or seven runs — maybe nine or ten.
You don’t like my “negative” take? Feel free to pick up your pom-poms and move on to another Mets blog. We’re keeping it real here.
When Livan Hernandez gives you a remarkably efficient 6 1/3 innings, your offense has runners in scoring position in each of the first four frames, and pounds Braves pitching for 11 hits and 5 walks over the course of the game, you should win big. Real big. But then, that might be presumptuous on my part. (I’ve been known to be that way.)
Instead, the Mets and Braves were neck and neck through eight innings, with the Mets up by one, then a Pony League team put on the Atlanta uniforms and took the field in the final frame. The kid in Chipper Jones’ jersey threw away a terrible bunt by Danny Murphy, the punk in Yunel Escobar’s uni didn’t cover second as Murphy took second on the overthrow, and some scrawny teeny bopper on the mound allowed Carlos Delgado to hit a 19-hopper through a drawn-in infield to plate two runners.
At the time, those two seemed like meaningless “insurance runs”, since the Mets had Frankie Rodriguez coming into the game to slam the door.
But when K-Rod allowed two hits and a walk, and Carlos Delgado dropped a routine pop fly, the Braves scored two runs and were suddenly back in the game — with men on first and third and career Mets killer Chipper Jones at the plate. Luckily, Jones lined out to right field to end the game — but it easily could have been a disaster of a loss.
A little surprising to see Livan leave the game in the seventh after giving up a single and a walk and the bottom of the Braves order coming to the plate. He had thrown only 74 pitches and seemed to have earned the right to work out of his own mess — he’d wiggled out of a few similar situations earlier in the game with ground ball double plays. But Jerry Manuel played it by the book, and brought in fireballer Bobby Parnell to get swings and misses. Parnell did strike out pinch-hitter Greg Norton, but gave up a run-scoring double to Martin Prado. The run was charged to Hernandez.
J.J. Putz threw 19 pitches in a scoreless 8th inning. He threw 20 in Tuesday’s game, and 70 total pitches in the first five days of this month. He had a similar workload just prior to blowing a save against the Marlins on April 29th.
Rodriguez also threw quite a few pitches — 28. He only threw 11, though, on Tuesday. But he’s only 7 tosses behind Putz for the month. Just sayin’.
During the SNY broadast, Keith Hernandez was harping on the fact that the Braves pitchers were continually throwing to the outside part of the plate. Keith seemed astounded by this strategy. I’m guessing he didn’t cover many games when Leo Mazzone was the Atlanta pitching coach — it was his prescribed modus operandi for, oh, about a decade and a half.
For the record, I’m not a fan of pounding the outside part of the plate either, and agree with Keith that pitchers today need to throw inside more often. But it shouldn’t be surprising that the Braves are trying to live off the outside part of the plate.
The Mets left 12 runners on base in this game.
Carlos Beltran hit in his 16th consecutive game, collected two safeties, and is back over .400.
David Wright also had two knocks, and somehow is back over .300. How does he do that? He’s the only guy I know who can “struggle” and be “in a slump” and still be right around .290 – .300.
The long, long, looooooooooong stroke of Ramon Castro was good enough for three hits and an RBI in this game. He’s 7 for his last 16, though I imagine you can attribute that to Jerry Manuel lighting a fire under him.
Next Mets Game
The Mets scamper back to Flushing for another quickie series, playing two games against the first-place Phillies. Johan Santana takes the mound against Chan Ho Park at 7:10 PM in a contest that the Mets should win with their eyes closed.